- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 2, 2012

Hey, include Gary Johnson in the presidential debates and let America have access to a third party, say his allies. Or else. Former campaign rival Buddy Roemer is convinced that Mr. Johnson has earned a place on the podium. “I saw and experienced firsthand how the media and major party ‘establishment’ can use debate invitations to narrow the field in a presidential election. That should not be allowed to happen,” says Mr. Roemer, former governor of Louisiana.

“Gary Johnson is the very successful two-term governor of New Mexico who has met the requirement of being on the ballot in enough states to be elected president. Nowhere is it written — in the Constitution or elsewhere — that we should have only two choices for president. Especially when those two choices are basically the same choice,” Mr. Roemer adds.

Meanwhile, former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura heartily endorsed Mr. Johnson in June while dismissing the two major political parties as little more than hooligans — “the DemoCRIPS and ReBLOODlicans.” Mr. Ventura says the monickers refer to two rival street gangs.


Well la-di-dah. Along with seeking out a few Hollywood movie roles and a reconciliation with his estranged wife, Arnold Schwarzenegger has established the Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy at the University of Southern California, casting himself as the “Governor Downey Professor of State and Global Policy.” His bristling new advisory board includes former Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary Henry Cisneros, former Mexican president Vicente Fox, George Schultz, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change director Rajendra Kumar Pachaur. Mr. Schwarzenegger is honing his civility as well.

“This institute is dedicated to promoting a new era of post-partisanship, where solutions are the result of intelligent and civil discussion between people with deeply held principles who understand the need to work through their disagreements to achieve real solutions,” he observes.


Here’s how much the press bashed Mitt Romney when he was overseas this week: 86 percent of the coverage on ABC, CBS and NBC “emphasized Romney’s perceived gaffes,” according to a content analysis of 21 news stories by the Media Research Center, which also compared Mr. Romney’s trip to a similar excursion made by President Obama in 2008. The results: The broadcast networks committed 53 minutes of almost entirely negative coverage to Mr. Romney, and 92 minutes of “gushing” to Mr. Obama.

“The near unanimous negativity of their coverage is as outrageous as it is transparent,” observes the center’s founder Brent Bozell. “It’s impossible to look at the fawning coverage of Obama’s trip in 2008 compared to the sliming Romney has taken in 2012 and not see a clear agenda on the part of the liberal media.”


“I’m going to be 51 on Saturday. Fifty-one Winning Florida wouldn’t be a bad birthday present,” President Obama told fans at a recent campaign event in the Sunshine State. The comment caused a flirtatious tingle in the press, and scattered news reports on what Mr. Obama would do to celebrate his day. It won’t match his star-studded bash last year. But claims have surfaced that there will be not one but three fundraising birthday events, to be staged Aug. 12. Crain’s Chicago Business says the first of the “intimate” parties will be staged in the backyard of Mr. Obama’s Chicago home, to be followed by soirees at the homes of family friends for 50-200 guests, with entrance fees priced from $1,000-$5,000. That is considered “low key,” the publication reports.


Hip-hip hurray. Sen. John Barrasso recently feted Ambassador Bruce Laingen in the Senate Dining Room, the Wyoming Republican honoring the man who was among those held hostage in Iran from 1979-81 after militants overran the U.S. embassy in Tehran. Mr. Laingen’s wife, Penelope, tied a yellow ribbon around an oak tree on their lawn in Maryland as a symbol of her faith he would return. And he did. Her gesture inspired an yellow ribbon-themed campaigns of remembrance for warriors and diplomats overseas in the aftermath, and the original ribbon was donated to the Library of Congress.

“On November 4, 1979, Bruce was taken hostage along with more than 60 other Americans. For a total of 444 days, he and 51 other Americans were held hostage in Iran. Throughout the entire ordeal, he worked diligently to protect the hostages and resolve the crisis. He showed true professionalism and strength,” recalls Mr. Barrasso.

Mr. Laingen served in the U.S. Navy during World War II before joining the Foreign Service, where he spent 38 years on duty in Germany, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Malta. Mr. Laingen also served as vice president of the National Defense University until he retired in 1987. He then became executive director of the National Commission on Public Service for the next three years, and later served as president of the American Academy of Diplomacy until 2006.

“On August 6, Bruce will celebrate his 90th birthday,” Mr. Barrasso adds. “Despite the personal sacrifice, Bruce honorably served the United States with expert skill and dedication throughout his long career.”


• 51 percent of Americans say “increased outside campaign spending” will benefit President Obama no more than it will Mitt Romney .

• 16 percent say Mr. Romney will benefit more, 15 percent say Mr. Obama will benefit more.

• 48 percent have “no opinion” on the effect of outside spending on elections; 27 percent say there’s no impact, 24 percent say there’s negative impact.

• 46 percent of Americans can’t define “superPAC”; 40 percent correctly say it’s a group that accepts unlimited donations.

• 9 percent say a superPAC is a congressional committee, 4 percent say it’s a government clean-up project and 1 percent a video game.

• 39 percent of Americans say they’ve heard “nothing at all” about outside spending; 36 percent have heard “a little,” 25 percent “a lot.”

Source: A Pew Research Center/Washington Post poll of 1,010 U.S. adults conducted July 26-29.

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